SURPRISE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - One family in the Surprise area is experiencing some heartbreak, after their little dog was killed by a coyote that was on the prowl.
The western edge of Surprise has open fields filled with horses, cattle, and livestock.
It's also a place that has a really nice neighborhood, with lots of pets. All those horses, cattle, livestock, and pets are also in a place where coyotes are looking for prey.
Sometimes, they look at dawn. Sometimes, they look at night.
For Victoria Bianchi, her nightmare came true two nights ago.
"Super lovable," said Victoria, remembering her six-pound dog that she named Courtney. "Loved to be cuddled. Best friends with our other dog. She's super tiny."
Courtney was attacked by a coyote six months ago. She survived. Her luck ran out, two nights ago.
"My mom started hearing Bentley barking, so she ran outside to look and she couldn't find Courtney anywhere," said Victoria. "We looked around the house, outside, we didn't see anything, so we assumed she was eaten by a coyote."
The next morning, a grizzly discovery awaits the family. Victoria found some of Courtney's remains, in the back corner of the yard. Victoria and her family thought that being several houses into a gated community meant they were insulated from coyotes, despite hearing similar stories from people living in the area.
"Moving in here, we understood what, you know, scorpions and bobcats, and there are animals around here that obviously could cause harm," said Victoria. "But thinking that we are so many houses in from those areas that we'd be okay, and it would never become a problem for us."
Now, Victoria said she will always be watching for predators, in her family's backyard.
"Going out with your dogs, keeping an eye on them while they're outside, especially littler dogs, but just keeping an eye out for them," said Victoria.
Tips on coyotes from the City of Surprise